Independent advice on private healthcare
What is DNA and why do we test it?
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the body’s genetic "blueprint". It is a long thread like molecule shaped like a twisted ladder (a double helix) that carries the genetic code which determines our individual characteristics.
DNA is found in almost all of the billions of cells that make up the human body. This is why we are able to use simple mouth swabs to take cells from the inside of your mouth for DNA testing.
A child inherits half of its DNA from each parent. No two people in the world have exactly the same DNA except genetically identical twins.
DNA paternity testing detects certain parts, or regions of the genetic code that vary greatly between people. By using several genetic tests the DNA at a number of these variable regions can be detected and compared to see if individuals are related.
Except for one test which identifies the sex of the person being sampled DNA testing identifies nothing else about the individuals - nothing about susceptibility to disease, height, weight or any other personal characteristic – merely that they are or are not related.
That’s the legal way of saying that everyone having DNA samples taken for relationship testing must agree that it can take place. Reputable DNA testing agencies will always ask you to sign a simple form to confirm your acceptance – parents with care should sign for children being tested. This is a requirement of the new Human Tissue Act and it will reduce the amount of relationship testing which takes place without individuals being aware of it happening!
For further information on the work of the Human Genetics Commission and the Human Tissue Act visit the HGC’s website www.hgc.gov.uk.
This makes DNA paternity testing the safest, most secure and most accurate method available for confirming paternity and other forms of relationship testing.
Paternity testing guide
- What does it involve?
- Types of DNA test